Sri Lanka set to experience artificial rain | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka set to experience artificial rain

Sulakshana Jayawardena
Sulakshana Jayawardena

Sri Lanka is all set to experience artificial rainmaking in the near future, perhaps within the year itself, according to Director, Development and Media Spokesperson to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, Sulakshana Jayawardena.

“Based on initial observations, the finding and recommendations of experts of the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation of Thailand, who carried out the preliminary examination last week, it is possible to initiate rainmaking in Sri Lanka, maybe within this year itself,” he said.

However, Jayawardena said there are certain requirements to be satisfied before the commencement of the project.

Thai experts have noted that detailed weather data should be collected on wind speed, humidity of clouds and height of clouds and also the need for proper weather radar to monitor the conditions.

Jayawardena said that a special aircraft is needed for the process. “When conducting the pilot project, we can use an aircraft from Air Force. But, if we are planning long-term rain making, we need to modify the existing planes to add certain features,” he told the Sunday Observer.

Jayawardena said that Government approval is needed before initiating the project and also there is the need to raise public awareness. “Only the preliminary examination was conducted by the Thai experts, further impact assessment into areas such as the environment is necessary,” he said.

The project will be a collaboration between the Sri Lanka Air Force, the Department of Meteorology, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, and the Ceylon Electricity Board.

Jayawardena said that a steering committee will be formed with all the stakeholders and members of these stakeholder institutions will be sent to Thailand, to receive relevant knowledge and exposure before initiating the process.

Artificial rainmaking is seen as one option to harness more rain during the monsoon seasons where rainfall has become scarce, especially in the catchment areas, where hydropower is generated. There are also plans to use rain-making for agricultural purposes.